What is the consequence of the refusal Flynn to hand over documents to the Senate?

On Monday the Agency The Associated Press reported that Flynn did not intend to submit a similar request issued by the Senate, resulting in the obvious question: can he ignore the request?

The answer to this question is positive. Similarly, it is possible to refuse to execute the orders of the police. That is, Flynn can refuse, but it is fraught with consequences.

A lawyer for Federal criminal cases in Connecticut, Todd Bussert (Todd Bussert) on Monday spoke on the phone with a representative edition of the Washington Post and explained what can happen as a result of Flynn’s failure to comply with the requirement to provide the necessary documents.

According to Bassert when we are talking about documents, the Fifth amendment “does not provide the same degree of protection”.

“The actions of the Congress similar to the actions taken in the context of the criminal case, said Bussert.- Often you see the organization or the individual come the prosecutors or law enforcement agencies, working cooperatively with prosecutors, and collect documents. Those may be valid claims subject to the provisions of the Fifth amendment — they cannot be forced to speak with agents or with someone else. But they cannot refuse to comply with the requirement of transfer of the documents. You are required to provide them — even if they may be incriminating”.

In other words, the Fifth amendment protects you from giving incriminating evidence against themselves — but it does not protect you from what you have said in the past. Similarly, documents are a form of behavior in the past, by which actions the Fifth amendment does not apply.

For Flynn, the risk is that the Committee of the Senate, requesting documents, may vote to accuse him of failure to comply with judicial requirements. If the Committee members do, then the Senate as a whole will asked to Express their opinion on this issue. And if the Senate agreed to accuse Flynn of failing the request, the case will be transferred to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington for the presentation of (his) criminal charges. In other words, Flynn can be found guilty of a crime for concealing documents, and he could face a prison sentence — regardless of what is said in those documents.

However, for this Senate, controlled by Republicans, have to show political will. But, according to Bassert, they have sufficient reason to take a tough stance and to fail in this business line.

“Congress is interested in how to accuse failure, probably under the influence of public attention, which attracts the matter, he said. — If a particular issue attracts considerable attention, Congress may not want to show the public that they are willing to allow someone to ignore the requirement to provide documents.”

Timely report of the Scientific and congressional research service (CRS), published this month, shows to what extent and in what cases the powers of Congress to conduct investigations is limited. In a nutshell, the powers of Congress is very broad, and for two centuries their use was established a number of mechanisms that can ensure the resolution of situations like the one that happened with Flynn in favor of Congress.

Since then, in 1979 the Senate received the right to address in law enforcement bodies with the requirement to prosecute for failure to comply with requests for documents or testimony, senators have used their powers six times. But against representatives of the Executive authorities they had not used them even once (according to CRS, the Senate blamed the failure of the order of the Executive Director Backpage.com the failure to pass the required documents).

Given how serious the issues concerning Flynn (questions about whether he engaged in illegal lobbying of interests of Turkey and if he conducted the invalid conversations with the Russians in the campaign of 2016), the charge of the Senate in fulfillment of the request for documents is quite soft. If we assume that the team Flynn actually refused to perform this query, then it is possible that they take a strategic decision, according to which the risk to go to jail for failure to comply with regulations is not as high as the risk of going to jail, if the Senate receives these documents.